Do I really need travel insurance?
By Lucy Frances
I’m going to put it out there: I love to travel. I’ve been to China, I’ve been to Japan, I’ve been to the United States and I’ve been to New Zealand. I’ve bungy jumped, white-water rafted, jumped out of a plane and ridden a roller-coaster that went at 171km/h. I don’t like to play it safe when I’m travelling, and when I first started jetsetting around the world, I shrugged off the idea of getting travel insurance – after all, surely I was smart enough to be able to look after myself overseas, right?
The more I have travelled, however, the more I have learned that travel insurance is crucial – and as I’ve gotten older, I couldn’t imagine flying off to another country without it.
Why, you ask? Well, here are four reasons travel insurance is essential for any (read: any) traveller.
Who has the money saved up for medical fees?
If you’re like me and you travel a lot, you probably don’t have that much money saved up – and why should you, if all of it goes on flights, accommodation, and the delectable cuisines each country has to offer?
While this doesn’t seem like such a big deal right now, if you sprain your ankle hiking and have to get an x-ray, you need to pay for it somehow if you don’t have travel insurance. This either means having to skimp on accommodation for the next few days, or missing a few meals. However, if you pay for travel insurance in advance, plenty of medical bills may already be covered in your policy, leaving you to spend money on the things you want.
Cheap airfares are often cheap for a reason
In Australia, where I am from, there are plenty of affordable airlines that are notorious for being strict with check-in times – if you arrive ten minutes after check-in closes, you’ve missed your flight and can’t get on another one. Although the original flight might have been affordable, it’s not worth the extra stress and monetary cost of booking a new flight (especially at the last minute).
If you get travel insurance, you can be reimbursed for the cost of any alterations you have to make because you could not make your flight or because it was cancelled. Winning.
Travel insurance isn’t actually that expensive
When someone mentions the word ‘insurance’, people (myself included) often assume that it will
a) be extremely expensive, and
b) be extremely expensive.
However, after a bit of digging around before my trip to New Zealand (when I purchased travel insurance for the first time), I found that travel insurance was much more affordable than what I originally believed. If you don’t believe me, go to some travel insurance websites and get a quote for yourself – it’s free, so what do you have to lose? In the end, I decided to go with Southern Cross Travel Insurance, who offered basic cover for just over AU$40 for two weeks, which was by far the best deal out there.
You just never know, do you?
I don’t mean to sound like my mother here, but sometimes, even if you’re incredibly careful, bad things can just happen. My friend had her bag with her wallet and travel documents stolen on a trip to Spain, and nearly had a heart attack trying to sort it out. My Aunt had her flight cancelled when airline staff decided to go on strike. Things outside of your control can happen – if you invest a little bit in travel insurance at the beginning of your trip, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress just in case something does happen.
Has anything unexpected ever happened to you while travelling overseas?